How to send a fragile item


Looking to send a parcel domestically or abroad, but scared that the contents could break or get damaged? Luckily, we’re experienced couriers with fragile items.

We've prepared a step-by-step guide on sending fragile items by courier, full of top tips that will help ensure you package your parcel effectively for transit. 

  Read on to learn how to send fragile items and for all important packaging advice or simply click a link below to be taken to a releveant subject.



Whether you’re sending a record or another type of fragile item, there are a number of things to consider, such as packaging, wrapping and sealing the item. Our packaging advice for fragile items is below.

1. How to Package a Fragile Parcel


Recommended Box Requirements: Robust | Strong | Lightweight

When choosing your box, you will want to consider an option that is robust and strong to withstand its journey through transit. As this will hold your item during its transportation, the outer cardboard box is where most of your packaging budget should go.

It really pays to use high-quality heavy-duty boxes made from corrugated cardboard as only these will give you the level of protection you need for sending fragile items. Find a box with a double or triple corrugated wall that's as close to the size of your item as possible, but not too small.

Whilst we encourage recycling, it may be best to avoid reusing any old boxes. While reusing can save you a few pennies, a used box will likely be softer and less durable than a new one. Check the box for robustness; if it’s looking or feeling a bit worse for wear, remember it's far better to buy a new one.

Packaging Advice Top Tip: Ensure there is a little room left in the box so you can add an extra protective layer around the item to ensure a snug fit and help to reduce any movement.



2. How to Wrap a Fragile Parcel


Recommended materials: Corrugated Liners | Bubble Wrap | Styrofoam

When sending fragile items by courier, it’s always handy to wrap your item in an extra protective layer to prevent any damage to your goods. The amount you need may depend on how delicate the item is, for instance, if you are sending glass, you may want to add two protective layers.

Remember not to use black outer packaging to wrap your parcel. Our automated parcel sortation systems can’t process it and using it for domestic shipping will lead to your parcel being delayed. In the case of international parcels, black packaging or wrapping will cause the parcel to be automatically returned.

Materials to use
  • Cardboard Dividers – these enable you to send multiple fragile items in the same box.
  • Polystyrene ‘peanuts’ – are good to fill corners and small spaces within the box.
  • Bubble Wrap – you can get a range of bubble wrap sizes that act as a cushioned protective layer around your fragile items. We recommend wrapping your items individually and then wrapping a larger layer to secure each item together.
  • Corrugated Liners – this adds additional protection to the structure of your box, providing additional sturdiness.
  • Styrofoam – comes in the form of wedges or balls. Wedges are great to secure the corners of items such as large flat items, while Styrofoam balls are great for filling little empty boxes with small items.

Materials to avoid
  • Newspaper – unless you are operating on a tight budget, we would recommend avoiding the use of newspaper as it only offers a thin layer of protection.
  • Airbags – avoid the use of these, they offer minimal protection and become easily redundant if they get burst by the item.


Packaing Advice Top Tip: It's perfectly fine to package two or more fragile items into the same box but don't try wrapping them together. They will probably knock against each other and could inflict damage on themselves.



3. How to Seal a Fragile Parcel


Once you've found your box and your items are wrapped, it's finally time to package everything up.

Single items should be placed right in the centre of the box, away from the corners, and have protective layers below and on top of the item. If you're packaging more than one item, separate each object with cardboard dividers and place them all as close to the centre as possible.

Once complete, seal everything up with packing tape, preferably one with 'FRAGILE' printed onto it. Applying fragile stickers to the box might not help an automated parcel sorting machine understand the contents are delicate, but it will highlight the presence of a fragile item for the delivery driver so they can take extra care handling it.



4. Weigh it Accurately


So everything is wrapped, packaged and enclosed in a sturdy box and you’re ready to send with a courier that specialises in sending fragile items. The next step requires you to figure out the weight and size of your parcel so you can accurately book it into our system.

Not sure how to figure out weight and size? View our guide on how to calculate the weight and size of your parcel. If you don't have scales to hand, you can work out volumetric weight using our volume calculator.



5. Labelling Your Fragile Parcel


You’ll want to ensure that any labels you place are clearly visible and placed securely on the box. We recommend you avoid placing them across any seams, in the event the contents need to be checked inside and any creases in the labels can impact the scanning and traceability of your parcel.

For the address label, it's wise to ensure you have all of the correct address details. If you are sending a parcel internationally, you’ll want to align the format of the address with that specific country.

We also recommend that you place a return address label with all of your contact details on the inside lid of the parcel should it need to be sent back to you.



6. Parcel delivery for fragile items


Now your parcel is securely wrapped and ready to go. It’s simple. Let’s send. With us it’s easy!

You can arrange a courier collection and delivery, which removes the need for you to even leave your house or you can drop it off at one of our local depots. All our deliveries can be tracked, so you are kept updated along the way.

The more you send, the more you save. Multi-parcel discounts are available on some UK services - and all savings will be displayed during the booking process.

You can even save money when you drop your parcels off at any one of our 3,500 ServicePoints or 50+ Depots. (Terms apply)



Choose DHL eCommerce UK as your courier service


We offer free £25 cover as standard across all UK and Ireland deliveries and £50 for international deliveries. This can also be upgraded if the actual value of the item you are shipping is greater than £25 (£50 for international).

Our service is not suitable for the carriage of breakable or valuable goods, and we do not carry dangerous or restricted goods. It is the sender’s responsibility to ensure that parcels do not contain anything which could be termed as such; if your parcel contains anything which could fall into those categories, any cover provided by us (either standard or extended liability) may be invalidated. Check our pages on restricted and prohibited goods here first.

Use our packaging advice and start sending fragile items via our courier service today. Get a quick quote using the button below.